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sudden, forceful expiration of air from the lungs caused by an involuntary contraction of the muscles controlling the process of breathing. The cough is a response to some irritating condition such as inflammation or the presence of mucus (sputum) in the respiratory tract, as in infectious disease, or to heavy dust or industrial or tobacco smoke. Coughing may also be a reflex action to factors outside the respiratory tract; diseases that are not respiratory in nature (e.g., congestive heart failure or mitral valve disease) often bring on coughing. If there is mucus or a foreign substance in the respiratory tract, the cough should not be hindered since by this action the offending matter is expelled from the body. If, however, the cough becomes exhausting, sedation is indicated.



a reflex act usually occurring as a result of the irritation of the mucous membrane in the respiratory tract during an inflammatory process caused by pathological products (for example, sputum) or foreign bodies. A cough is one of the principal indications of disease in the respiratory organs (larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs). The cough center in the brain can sometimes be stimulated without irritation of the respiratory tracts. This is the so-called nervous cough that occurs in cases of fear and embarrassment. A distinction is made between a dry cough (without the formation and secretion of sputum) and a wet cough (with sputum).

The cough stimulus begins by deep inhalation, followed by a tensing of the bronchial and all the respiratory muscles resulting in forced expulsion. In so doing, the rima glottidis is closed, and intrathoracic pressure rises sharply. With the opening of the rima glottidis, the air bursts forth from the respiratory tract, carrying with it the sputum that has accumulated in the bronchi and pulmonary alveoli, dust particles, and so forth. Thus, a cough can be beneficial in helping to cleanse the respiratory tract. However, a protracted and severe cough that occurs with infections of the pleura, liver, and some other organs is harmful to the organism, since a systematic elevation of the intrathoracic and intrabronchial pressure leads to the gradual formation of pulmonary emphysema and impedes the flow of blood through the veins to the heart. This can lead to cardiopulmonary insufficiency.

Treatment is directed at the affliction that has caused thecough. With a wet cough, particularly if it is difficult to bring upthe sputum, expectorants are used; with a dry, persistent cough, cough suppressants are administered.


A sudden, violent expulsion of air after deep inspiration and closure of the glottis.
References in periodicals archive ?
A visit to the doctor's with a chesty cough turned into a two-week hospital stay for Cory, as he battled pneumonia.
A ticklish, dry or chesty cough, runny nose, plus you feel generally lousy.
CHESTY COUGH WHEN YOU DO: If a patient feels very unwell and their cough is accompanied by a persistent fever, accompanied by a persistent fever, difficulty breathing, pain in the difficulty breathing, pain in the chest or blood-stained phlegm, they chest or blood-stained phlegm, they should see their GP, said Dr should see their GP, said Dr Hicks.
The long term condition could lead to damaged airways, shortness of breath and a chesty cough.
The 54-year-old said yesterday: "I have a lot of aches and pains, and a chesty cough.
Q I HAVE a chesty cough and always cover my mouth but a colleague said I would still spread it.
The six products taken off sale, are: Asda Children's Chesty Cough Syrup, Boots Chesty Cough Syrup One Year Plus, Boots Sore Throat and Cough Linctus One Year Plus, Buttercup Infant Cough Syrup, CalCough Chesty and Bell's Children's Chesty Cough.
Eddie added: "She was given the all clear before Christmas and she is now back at school most of the time, although she has a chesty cough at the moment so she's at home.
GSK is again active in this sector this season, with the launch of Veno's for Kids, a sugar-free, chesty cough syrup for children aged between two and 12 years.
In the US the Vicks family includes, NyQuil[R], the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for Adult Cold Nighttime Relief1, NyQuil[R] Sinex[R], Children's NyQuil[R], DayQuil[R] Cold/Flu LiquiCaps, DayQuil[R] Cold/Flu, DayQuil[R] Cough, DayQuil[R] Sinex[R], VapoRub[R] Ointment, VapoRub[R] Cream, BabyRub[R], Vicks[R] Formula 44[R] Custom Care[TM] Chesty Cough, Vicks[R] Formula 44 Custom Care[TM] Dry Cough, Vicks[R] Formula 44[R] Custom Care[TM] Cough & Cold PM , Sinex[R] 12 Hour Spray, Sinex[R] Ultra Fine Mist, Sinex[R] 12 Hour Ultra Fine Mist Moisturizing, Vicks[R] VapoDrops[R].
Cough medicines can help to ease a troublesome cough that feels dry, tickly or itchy or a chesty cough with lots of congestion.
She had been feeling unwell for two days prior to her final admission with difficulty breathing, a chesty cough and jaundice.